Billie - 11x02 Form and Void
Now, just a fair warning, there will be a little rant in here about how they could have made this (retroactively) even better... but I'll talk about why it's fantastic even without that first.
Firstly, we get that repeated leitmotif that tells us exactly who Billie is before Sam clues in. This is purely for the audiences benefit, which COULD be a complaint, but personally, I like it. We know Billie is a reaper - and the folk-song quality to her singing establishes her immediately in the subconscious as being associated with the ancient and unchanging... which is a fantastic unconscious association to establish when it comes to reapers/Death.
Then we move on to her action words - again, immediately she KNOWS Sam. This puts Billie on firm ground, and Sam off of it. Potential threats are always more threatening when they know you and you don't know them.
And then, Billie does the near-impossible on the show, which is to re-establish the fear of death. By introducing a possibility of "the Empty" - Billie gives us a possible final death for both the boys... actually, she PROMISES a final death. Which means the stakes MUCH hire for both Sam currently (who is dying), and also the safety of either brother going forward. (Of course, this works better if you ignore subsequent sequences when they then undercut even the danger of the Empty by pulling Castiel back from it.)
The other thing I like about this introduction is that it's to Sam... although, once again, the show falls back on old habits and then starts having Billie interact primarily with Dean, it was cool, for a moment, to have this newly incarnated Death-like being interact with Sam instead. Just to contrast her more with the previous incarnation of a Death-like being who interacted with Dean.
But you know what would make this introduction SO MUCH BETTER.... if the show, from the jump, decided that Billie was the "new" Death. It would make WAY more sense than having Death be killable, since we know that the other horseman can't be killed, they can only be defeated/weakened. It would follow that Death too, cannot be killed... especially because DEATH IS DEATH. As long as people are dying, Death is there, my friends. Just like when God was dying, the universe started collapsing (ie: life was impossible), so too should it have been that if Death truly died, everyone would have stopped dying. But, that's my opinion, and I favour dualistic supernatural universes. And I'm getting off track... if Billie were Death, in a momentarily weakened state, it would make sense that she'd let Sam assume she was just a reaper while she regained her strength.
Moreover, it would account for why random-reaper-named-Billie decides she's going to be the one to take the Winchesters to task. I guess they stupidly killed Tessa, so the show was like "shit, we don't have any other established reapers, let's just make one." But even Tessa was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when she formed her association with Dean... Billie seems to be volunteering for the job, and that would make FAR MORE SENSE if the Winchesters had just "killed" her the day before. You needn't even have the reveal be any different than what it was - just instead of some convoluted mythology of a reaper needing to die to become "the next Death" just have Billie return after Castiel "kills" her and say "Okay, enough of that false identity shit - it's me, Death, and I'm pissed." Though, granted, I recognize they also needed a reason for Billie to be like "but I'm not going to kill you, because now I have new information and you need to stay alive"... but honestly, just go with that, I'd have preferred it. Moreover, if you establish Death as unkillable, then Billie threatening to toss them into the Empty, and perhaps only letting Dean live that one time as a personal favour, keeps that threat of finale death present as much as possible on the show... because, there but by the grace of Death go they. /rant This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/563865.html.